Established in 1990 - The Original Professional Heifer Development and Research Center

Heartland's History

Heartland Cattle Company

Heartland Cattle Company owner Dr. Patsy Houghton is the pioneer of the now-common terminology of “Professional Heifer Development”. Founded in 1990, she and her creative team had the knowledge and foresight to see a tremendous opportunity to provide a much-needed service to the United State's beef industry. At the time of it's inception, the idea was not only foreign to producers, but considered “crazy” by many! However, after 23 years and nearly 90,000 heifers developed and bred by the company, the concept is not only well-accepted, but embraced by industry leaders and producers alike!

The replacement heifer represents the future profitability and genetic improvement of the cowherd, and her selection and development are of the utmost importance to the success of any cow-calf operation. The replacement heifer's smaller size and higher nutritional requirements dictate that they be managed separate from the herd; and proper growth and development are essential to long-term fertility, milk production, and longevity in the cowherd. For many cow-calf producers, it is impractical to feed and breed replacement heifers separate from the mature cowherd. The extra management and feed resource requirements, as well as limitations of time, labor, and facilities can all contribute to on-ranch development and breeding programs that yield less than desirable results. With that in mind, the company was founded on four basic goals:

  1. Custom Heifer Development
  2. Contractual Heifer Development
  3. Commercial Research and Development
  4. Calf Weaning Services

The primary goal was custom heifer development. In this program, beef producers retain ownership of their replacement heifers throughout their entire stay at the McCook, Nebraska facility. Heifers are developed, synchronized and artificially bred according to customer specifications. Only the bred heifers are returned home to the ranch, while prebreeding cull and open heifers are merchandized in a timely manner, thus increasing overall cash flow for the customer.

For those producers looking to expand their herd, introduce new genetics, or participate in terminal-cross beef production, the contractual heifer development option is for you! Heifers are managed identically to those in the custom development program, but Heartland Cattle Company identifies and purchases the heifers to meet your contractual specifications from long-term genetic suppliers. Heartland can provide bred heifers to meet your needs… breed, frame size, genetic background, AI service sires, and calving date window.

A third objective of the company is research and development. Heartland Cattle Company is actively involved in both commercial and proprietary research where the newest advances in nutrition, health, and reproductive management programs are investigated. Improved total quality management from conception to consumption is the goal of our research program.

A fourth objective of the company is to provide commercial calf weaning services to its customers. By nature of the breeding season, spring-bred heifers are generally shipped back to the ranch in July and August. This creates a perfect opportunity to receive bawling calves throughout the fall season. To date, nearly 158,000 head of calves have been weaned and started via a 45-day program. We have also increased the percentage of customers who pre-condition calves from 0% to nearly 100% by providing data summary and cost analyses on morbidity and mortality rates, treatment and processing costs, and final feedyard and carcass performance.

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